Sunday, October 30, 2011

Like Crazy Review

Genre movies are always particularly personal ones – what horrifies me may only make you laugh, what makes you laugh may only slightly nauseate me – but few things seem to bring out such wildly differing reactions as romances.

“Oh my… The trailer completely pulled at my heartstrings :>” kmbrlyfilmgeek recently posted at the IMDB page for “Like Crazy,” a new twenty-something love story.

“Trailer made me throw up…This looks and sounds like the most sentimental tear-jerking crap ever!” dirkhoekstra posted directly underneath her mash note.

Hmm, so, kimbrly, dirk – I guess we’re not going to make an internet love connection here today.
The reality of the film, though, lies between those two extremes.

There are some real and lovely moments here (far lovelier than you’d expect from a director whose last film was called “Douchebag”). But the movie can also sometimes confuse what’s real with what’s merely realistic, and lose its sense of drama along the way.

The story is about two young, too-young people, played by Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. They’re both finishing up college, but also still slightly puppyish; they fall for each other, but have some problems turning affection and sex into love and commitment.

She’s British and has to return once her student visa runs out; he starts a business, and makes the mistake of hiring a very attractive assistant. Other problems – both the separation of a very long plane ride, and the distancing effect of text messages – complicate things.

But to its credit, “Like Crazy” remains fairly uncomplicated – despite the title, this isn’t one of those Hollywood thrillers when a possessive lover suddenly shows up with a knife.

It’s just the small story of two young people trying hard to decide whether this is an infatuation worth growing past, or a real relationship worth growing into.

To its detriment, though, “Like Crazy” is often too small. Although Jones nicely conveys a slightly spoiled, slightly uncertain young woman, Yelchin’s character is underwritten (and he remains one of the least assertive actors on the screen).

And while it does get how petty arguments can often be, it fails to raise its scenes about them above the petty. (Director Doremus’ one big stylistic touch – showing Jones immobile, waiting for Yelchin’s plane to land, while hundreds of people around her get on with their lives – only makes her look slightly creepy.)

Terribly sincere, determinedly small, “Like Crazy” doesn’t deserve the automatic disdain that movie romances often get (almost invariably, unfortunately from men). It has its small, sweet good points.
But if this is really the sort of movie that pulls at your heartstrings until you cry – well, your emotions may need just a little bit of a tuning up.

Ratings note: The film contains some strong language and sensuality.

( Via By Stephen Whitty/The Star-Ledger ; Like Crazy Review )

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